Edges + Lines

I couldn’t feel the couch beneath me. Her words hovered somewhere in front of me, caught outside an impenetrable field that had formed between us in the five minutes I’d been sitting there. I heard her, but I wasn’t able to let her in.

I stared in her direction, trying to see through the fog that was my obsessive thoughts. It reminded me of how it felt as a kid to look through the wrong end of a camera lens. She seemed far away, blurred edges with colors and sounds difficult to pin down. What I could see, with penetratingly painful clarity, were my arms and my hands swelling, the longer I sat in submission, the harder it was to avert my gaze.

My heart-rate quickened. The back of my neck grew warm. I fiddled with the ring on my finger. I was fully disconnected now, just a heap of individual, impersonal body parts that are not my own. The discomfort becomes more unbearable with each passing minute. I was itching to flee. To leave her office, leave my body, my mind.

She was telling me that focusing on weight-loss as a way of finding acceptance, for myself and from others, was not sustainable. I knew she was right. But the barrier that stood between me and her words already stood. I couldn’t allow myself let go of so much hope. I had to protect myself from this idea that I was stuck like this, isolated in my feelings and forever an outsider.

It’s never just been about my body. Yet it still feels like the root of so much pain, or alternatively, so much freedom. An outward representation of what is possible. The inclusive, unhindered life that could be, that’s just out of reach, always. This association is my edge. This is where the work is and needs to be done.

She asked, what if I were to just let go? There’s freedom in not holding onto these beliefs, even if they run counter to what the majority believes and culture reinforces. This lands, I hear her and I know it’s true. But to throw caution to the wind, raise my hand, declare myself different feels so terrifying after years of simply, wanting nothing more than to just fit in.

I walk this line, aware of the fact that I can never go back to the place where I starved myself of authenticity, connection, and nourishment. Yet when I speak, when I dare to step over the line, my voice falters. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up the beliefs that I’ve clung to for so long, that brought me so much hope, the possibility of an escape and of change. That hurts most. The feeling of not belonging in one and knowing I can never return to the other.

I’m trying to find balance. To appreciate this in-between space for what it is, part of a journey, while having patience with myself. Some days are easier than others. As lonely and terrifying as this new direction may seem, the one where I choose to challenge the norm, I remind myself that the other is not sustainable. Depriving myself, both physically and spiritually will not allow for the kind of meaningful connections that I crave. That’s where I can, with conviction, draw my line.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.” — Marianne Williamson